Year
1968

Navy Corpsman receives Medal of Honor for action

Donald E. Ballard, Corpsman U.S. Navy, is awarded the Medal of Honor for action this date in Quang Tri Province. Ballard, from Kansas City, Missouri, was a corpsman with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He had just finished evacuating two Marines with heatstroke when his unit was surprised by a Viet Cong ambush. Immediately racing to the aid of a casualty, Ballard applied a field dressing and was directing four Marines in the removal of the wounded man when an enemy soldier tossed a grenade into the group. With a warning shout of, “Grenade!” Ballard vaulted over the stretcher and pulled the grenade under his body. The grenade did not go off. Nevertheless, he received the Medal of Honor for his selfless act of courage. Ballard was only the second man whose valor was rewarded despite the fact that the deadly missile did not actually explode.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Japanese woman scales Everest

Via the southeast ridge route, Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Located in the central Himalayas on the border of China and Nepal, Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Called ...read more

Louis marries Marie Antoinette

At Versailles, Louis, the French dauphin, marries Marie Antoinette, the daughter of Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. France hoped their marriage would strengthen its alliance with Austria, its longtime enemy. In 1774, with the death of King ...read more

Protests mount in France

In France, the May 1968 crisis escalates as a general strike spreads to factories and industries across the country, shutting down newspaper distribution, air transport, and two major railroads. By the end of the month, millions of workers were on strike, and France seemed to be ...read more

Warsaw Ghetto uprising ends

In Poland, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising comes to an end as Nazi soldiers gain control of Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto, blowing up the last remaining synagogue and beginning the mass deportation of the ghetto’s remaining dwellers to the Treblinka extermination camp. Shortly after the ...read more

GM dedicates new technical center

On this day in 1956, executives from the Detroit-based automotive giant General Motors (GM) dedicate the new GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Costing around $100 million–or about half a billion in today’s dollars–to develop and staffed by around 4,000 scientists, ...read more

First Academy Awards ceremony

On this day in 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California. The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film ...read more

U.S. bombing destroys main fuel line

A series of air strikes over five days destroys all of North Vietnam’s pumping stations in the southern panhandle, thereby cutting North Vietnam’s main fuel line to South Vietnam. These strikes were part of Operation Linebacker, an air offensive against North Vietnam that had ...read more

Outlaw Dick Fellows is released

Dick Fellows, an inept horseman but persistent outlaw, becomes a free man after spending five years in the San Quentin prison. Like many western bandits, Fellows drifted into life of crime when his efforts to make an honest living failed or provided only a poor income. Born ...read more

A nurse steals another woman’s unborn baby

Norma Jean Armistead checks herself into Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles, California, with a newborn that she claims to have given birth to at home. Some staff members were already aware that Armistead, a nurse at the hospital, had a pregnancy listed on her medical charts the ...read more

U.S.-Soviet summit meeting collapses

In the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May 1, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev lashes out at the United States and President Dwight D. Eisenhower at a Paris summit meeting between the two heads of state. Khrushchev’s outburst angered Eisenhower and ...read more